I am running an workshop in Manchester (UK) on November 14 called Forget Facebook: a new way of looking at social media for the public sector. It is designed to help public sector bodies get measurable benefits from social media, rather than seeing using the tools and ‘being in or on’ Facebook and Twitter as being the objective.
This is the story. A few months back I did a workshop with Preston City Council at the invitation of the Council’s senior information officer, Carl Holloway. Carl’s issue was that he had set up the mandatory Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube and Flickr channels but becoming increasingly aware that this was not ‘the answer’ or really constituted an effective, or measurable, social media strategy.
He asked me to come and help because we had met a few months earlier when we had both been presenting at a Big Brussels Bash (EuroPCom 2011) organised by the European Committee of the Regions to discuss communications in local and regional government. The thrust of my presentation had been on abandoning the obsession with using the tools (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) and instead to see social media first and foremost as a business process that starts with the definition of specific operational (not communications) objectives. The selection and usage of the tools only takes place once you have defined these objectives and designed the process. This approach seemed to the logical next step for Preston City Council.
The workshop was run with members of Carl’s communications team but also with representatives from operating units like leisure centres, customer contact, community engagement and critically, performance and policy. It allowed us to really focus on which areas of the Council’s activities social media could support and start to map-out an action plan for each of these. The session went well and Carl is now embarking on supporting the roll-out of those plans.
As we chewed things over, it became apparent that many other Councils and public bodies were in a similar position – looking to get measurable benefits from the use of social media, rather than just seeing usage of the tools as the end objective. Therefore we decided to set up a workshop and invite people to come and be introduced to this approach, using the experience from Preston as illustration. The result – Forget Facebook: a new way of looking at social media for the public sector, taking place at the Hilton Deansgate in Manchester on November 14. This will be a full day session, with a limited number of participants so that it is a proper workshop, rather than just a ‘sit and listen seminar’. Cost is at the standard local government rate of £245 or £199 if you book before October with lunch and coffees included in the price.
The outline for the day is here.
It is obviously designed for the public sector, but the process we outline would be equally relevant for third sector organisations, especially those involved in the delivery of government-funded programmes.